Hitting the streets: Hundreds turn out for Blair Cruise Night

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Hundreds of vintage cars, trucks and hot rods navigated Blair's streets Saturday night for the first Blair Cruise Night of the year.

“Old stuff, new stuff. Show cars, not show cars,” organizer Matt Saunders said.

Blair Cruise Night started last year as a way to bring the community together during the COVID-19 pandemic. It quickly grew and two other cruise nights were held in 2020.

“I had no idea. I thought 10, 15, 20 cars would show up and it would be cool,” Saunders said. “More and more people were showing up and said, 'You should do it more often.'”

Cruise Night participants met in the Blair Youth Sports Complex parking lot for a meet and greet prior to hitting the streets.

One of the more unique vehicles that found its way to Blair was a 1987 Volkswagen Overland Rescue vehicle owned by Greg Sloma of Bennington. The vehicle was once used to fight fires in the Austrian Alps.

“There probably aren't five in the U.S,” he said. “I haven't seen another one here.”

One of Sloma's friends imported the vehicle to fix it up, but he found another project.

“He was going to make a camper out of it, so I said I'll make a camper out of it,” Sloma said.

The vehicle, which once had enough seats to hold eight firefighters, now has two beds, a shower, an air conditioner, a water tank and an instant hot water heater.

Though it's a now a camper, Sloma said every piece of equipment on the vehicle, including the wench, works.

Sloma is a member of the Omaha Volkswagen Club and often uses the vehicle to travel.

“Every year, for the last 20 years, some element of us bus guys have gone on a trip,” he said.

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